I usually don’t get too involved in the day-to-day operations of educating our children. Tanya does an excellent job there. I am good for random unplanned lessons in science, history, economics, or civics, but my role is mainly that of principal. I offer encouragement when needed and apply discipline when required. And I help set the strategic direction of the curriculum.
Some of my favorite tenets of our homeschool are: Life is school – the best lessons are the ones that are learned in daily life. Kids should be free to discover and develop their natural talents and interests. They should learn a skill, something they love and can do with their hands.
We invest a lot in our lifestyle, but in reality it is all about the kids. We view raising these children as the single most important thing we’ll do in our lives. We could get all stressed out about that, or we could have fun with it. Living on a boat, we’ve created an environment of self-sufficiency, exploration, and adventure. What they’re learning in school often dovetails nicely with something tangible in their daily experience. All critters are identified. All weather and atmospheric conditions are explained. Physical forces are understood. We play “I Spy” with the globe.
The part of my role that I most enjoy is that of a magic genie. I can grant wishes in the name of education. Or at least give a taste of it. Some of those dreams have to be tempered down to something realistic. For example, I know Sarah's deepest desire is for a stable full of horses. That just isn’t going to happen as long as we’re living on a boat. But I can swing riding lessons. And apparently baby sisters grow on trees around here.
Eli is the outdoorsman. He’s been the beneficiary of a SNUBA trip, rock climbing at a local gym, and just received his first knife. Aaron’s dinghy driving skills have been well documented here, but he also has a hankering to drive something with wheels. For a boy 49 inches tall, that means go-karts. He and I rode those go-karts until we couldn’t take anymore. His interest in music netted him a guitar and an iPod full of classic rock. This counts as school in my book.
What about Sam? Well, Sam wants to fly like Superman and climb walls like Spiderman. That just doesn’t leave me much to work with. But when he wants to build a laser, I’ll be there.